Webster’s American College Dictionary defines “integrity” as “uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
“Moral”, then, is defined as “of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical … virtuous.”
And “ethical” is “being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice.”
In business, the vital area of sales is often regarded as a function that has less integrity than, say, human resources. As a sales trainer involved in selling myself, my services, seminars, coaching, training, and speeches, I run up against this stereotype all the time. Don’t we all know that salespeople will lie, cheat, and steal just to get our money?
So here I am, writing about integrity, when I must not only be lying, cheating and stealing myself, but also teaching other people how to do those things! Right? Well, no. Although the stereotype of salespeople may be negative, the reality is much different.
Here’s what I preach, teach, and live: people can smell a liar a mile away. They may not know what you lied about, but they know that you lied… or misrepresented… or overstated. People sense that. So even if you’re tempted, don’t do it.
Integrity is all about doing what you say you’re going to do. Without integrity, your word means nothing.
If you say you’re going to do something in life, just do it. No excuses. If you find that you will be unable to do what you said you were going to do, renegotiate that commitment before the deadline passes. NEVER let a deadline go by without acknowledging it and attempting to renegotiate it. Just don’t SAY you’ll do it if you have any doubt that you WILL.
Integrity, in business and in life, is essential. Simply doing what I say I’m going to do – no excuses – is a great basis for that. And integrity – not bending the rules, or trying to equivocate, or, really, doing anything I’ll be ashamed I’ve done – is a key element in the foundation of a satisfying life.